Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

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AIG Faces Hearing on Denial of Medical Claims by Contractors Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 8, 2009

AIG Faces Hearing on Denial of Medical Claims by Contractors Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – June 8, 2009 1:18 pm EDT
http://www.propublica.org/feature/aig-faces-hearing-on-denial-of-medical-claims-by-contractors-injured-608

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich [1], D-Ohio, announced [2] today that a panel of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [3] will hold hearings on June 18 to examine whether AIG and other major insurance carriers have inappropriately denied medical claims of contractors injured on the job in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kucinich, the chair of the committee’s domestic policy panel, said earlier that he was “alarmed” by a joint investigation [4] by ProPublica [5], ABC News [6] and the Los Angeles Times [7], which found that the troubled insurance giant routinely denied medical care to civilians injured in the war zones. Rep. Elijah Cummings [8], D-Md., first requested [9] a hearing after the reports aired earlier this year.

Kucinich’s panel will be joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders [10], I-Vt., who has also expressed concern over the billion-dollar government-funded system to care for injured civilians. Sanders had previously planned to hold hearings in the Senate but decided instead to join Kucinich’s panel. The move was prompted by the Senate health and labor [11] committee’s heavy schedule of health care reform hearings this summer.

Under a federal law known as the Defense Base Act [12], contractor companies are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for employees deployed to a war zone. AIG dominates the market for such insurance, handling nearly 90 percent of all claims in Iraq. Government audits and inquiries have questioned whether AIG and other carriers charged “excessive” [13] premiums for the insurance. Taxpayers ultimately pay for such insurance as part of the contract price.

“The hearing will explore ways to increase oversight and improve the [Defense Base Act] workers’ compensation program in order to enhance protections afforded to injured civilian contractors,” according to a release [14] (PDF) from the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, which oversees labor issues.

Injured civilian workers, representatives from AIG and other carriers, and officials with the Labor Department, which oversees the program, are expected to testify. AIG has said it would “fully cooperate” with requests for documentation from the committee. The company maintains that the “vast majority” of claims are paid without dispute “when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received.”

11 Responses to “AIG Faces Hearing on Denial of Medical Claims by Contractors Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan”

  1. Sickofwatchingthemsuffer said

    So are they going to let us as the insured and denied speak also, or is this only the big companies being able to talk again. I would love to get up there and tell them the real story of how we are dragged around for years.

  2. […] AIG dominates the market for such insurance, handling nearly 90 … Here is the original: AIG Faces Hearing on Denial of Medical Claims by Contractors … Share and […]

  3. John C said

    I can understand why sickofwatchingthemsuffer is fed up, I was diagnosed with PTSD, BTI, PCS while in Iraq in 2007, started treatment by the military I was a civilian contractor, I returned home sept of 08 due to headaches, short term memory lose, etc, attended my physician like instructed by the military, took 4 months for evaluations, company didnt file ls-203 so I had to get a lawyer, still no help, and our insurance company is investigating some of my hospital claims, ashame when surviving in a war is easier than getting help at home, You would think that after 4 Doctors, 1 Nuerologist, physcological nureologist now have to start seeing a shrink, think that sucks put down on a job application you are on 3 different meds see how far that goes as well. The good part is AIG officials still get to go to their resorts, spend 400 grand in a weekend and I am doing everything to survive while losing everything myself and wife have worked for. Gee wonder why a person could become frustrated or bitter

  4. John C said

    oh yes sick and tired they are not going to let us speak why would they want to hear from someone who has experienced it as opposed to someone sitting behind a desk

  5. widow in california said

    Again I will bring to everyones attention: AIG keeps saying that they will pay the claims with proper medical documentation. Okay, then why do they claim there are no medical records. Someone has thought this out a long time ago. The military isn’t billing the insurance companies when a contractor has to see one of their doctors. If they had been billing these insurance companies there would be a paper trail with a name attached to it and a diagnosis. That is how medical billing works. So if they don’t bill these claims, they must not exist. Well, guess what? They do exist and how dare they insult our integrity by thinking we will let them get by with this. This is a purposful act and they need to be made an example of so other unethical companies won’t try this game with the American people. If they try to play stupid that they didn’t know and all of a sudden these claims appear to save their butts, they better not let them get away with it. That is only part of their game. I wonder who the poor sap is going to be that is sacraficed to the wolves to take the fall? I hope each top executive reads this, because it just might be one of them. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen we do look outside of the box and yes the Big Picture is very clear to everyone. Should we forward your mail to…..Club Fed?

  6. daffodils said

    The “proper medical documentation” is just another ruse. Every initial claim has at least one diagnosis by a competent doctor, although the Act does not even recquire affirmative medical proof but a credible subjective complaint. The activist ALJ’s are just legislating from the bench in favor of companies.

    AIG/ CNA, confident of the Labor Dept. in their pocket, then get their hired-gun doctors to dispute the “proper medical documentation” and drag the cases out for years in the hopes that the injured simply give up because of litigation stress and abandonment.

    Then one ends up before an administrative law system that has no standards whatsoever, the outcome of factually identical cases (ie KBR truck drivers in Iraq) depend on the judge or which side of the bed he got up that morning. The Benefit Review Board has been reduced to nothing but an emasculated rubberstamp.

    They need to reverse this process, claims should be awarded following a diagnosis and only terminated when and if the company eventually wins, without prejudice to claimant . CNA should pay for frivolous litigation, not have the perverse incentive of earning 15% profit from screwing the injured as Waxman found. But nothing changed anyhow.

    Agree John, they are going to once again fall for the farce that the labor department is “impartial” when in fact their officials and judges are the principal enablers in this whole mess.

  7. Krash said

    “when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received.” . . . .

    It doesn’t seem to matter if you have the required documentation or not . . . your claim will be denied anyway. I have documentation of the truck accident, documentation from my doctor, a state certified worker’s compensation doctor, a state certified psychologist, a neurologist and a mental health counselor and still AIG’s attorney says that I must prove that I was seen by KBR medics within 30 days of the accident . . that’s the part that I can’t prove . . KBR’s lousy record keeping is keeping my claim in limbo, my word that I was seen by the medics is not good enough for the DoL to approve my claim to be heard by an ALJ. Plus, the KBR medics motto is 1) see your personal medical provider when you are on R&R and 2) drink more water (no matter what your complaint is).

    In the meantime I haven’t been able to work in almost 3 years. If not for my family I would have been on the streets a long time ago, and to continuously see the extragavant “weekends” and exhorbitant bonuses awarded to AIG, for losing billions of taxpayers dollars, while I go without medical care, that has already been payed for by the taxpayers, is enough to make me wonder why I volunteered to help our military in the first place.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of the work I did, and I would volunteer again, but I would definitely do more research on the companies and their insurance carriers before taking on a high risk job again.

  8. Barry said

    These same types of criminal denial of benefits are occuring in Workers Comp cases and U.S. Title 29 ERISA disability cases all across America.

    I pray your group will go to http://www.judgesquotes.blogspot.com to see evidence. I will be adding information about AIG soon.

    This is organized crime, and the DOJ has refused to do anything about it even though U.S. Magistrate judge Bryant in Nashville wrote that I have more than sufficiently alleged fraud against Metlife.

    I have the support of groups and individuals, and I’m sending a request to the DOJ under the freedom of information act asking them to provide all information regarding why they are allowing the proven insurance company crimes to go unpunished.

    I have had cancer burned from my eye so I will stop here. We are fighting the same battle, so lets join forces and get help from everyone we know.

    My email is barryschmittou@yahoo.com

    I am slow to respond because of the eye cancer but I will keep all info and add you to the group email list and try to connect all groups together. We are up against very powerful evil, lets join forces and fight the good legal fight for justice.

  9. p anita brown said

    barry, i too feel your pain. i worked for kbr for 13 months. i left iraq june 2007 with an injury to my hands
    went to the incompetent medics or what ever they are and was given a hand brace and told to see my doc on my return to the usa. i did just that, i reported my injury to kbr houston, and was given an adjuster. long story short at this time, i did all that was required of me and they would just ignore my phone calls and were so very rude, finally after calling so many times i i reported them to the dept of labor and they too were ignored by aig, i went ahead and had my surgery and then i hired a defense base atty. . this has been a mess. but we are in the middle of negotiations with aig and trust me
    i will not lay down on this one. if i can help in anyway
    please respond, i will join happily for the fight. i am ready. i have so much to say, but i do not want to stress your eye too much today.
    God Bless you always
    former KBR EMPLOYEE AND 22 YEAR ARMY RETIRED VET

  10. Barry said

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for your kindness and offer to help.

    If you will email me at barryschmittou@yahoo.com I will respond and let you know about the upcoming efforts.

    The writer of this Defense Base Act blog and the supporters have some plans, and I will also be sure they know how to contact you. It’s time to get everyone in America involved, because the criminal acts of the insurance companies and the employers involved must be stopped immediately.

    Thank you so much for your offer to help !!

  11. […] AIG Faces Hearing on Denial of Medical Claims by Contractors Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan […]

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